Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

September 30, 2022 Quick space links

Courtesy of BtB’s stringer Jay, who trolls Twitter so I don’t have to.

A robot arm made the move at China’s Tiangong-3 space station. Wentian docked at the main port, so that it sat in a straight line with the Tianhe main module. Moved to the side, the station is now in an L-shape, so that Mengtian can dock with that center port. Once docked, the same robot arm will shift it to the port opposite Wentian, so that the station is T-shaped.

The drop zone for the Long March 5B’s solid boosters is in the ocean, to the southwest of the Philippines. The core stage of course will reach orbit, and unless something as changed (unlikely), will crash uncontrolled somewhere on Earth within a week of launch.

The money will buy for two satellites that the Russians are presently contracted to launch, but will not due to sanctions. Reports suggest South Korea is talking to either SpaceX or Arianespace, but only SpaceX could do the launch at this low price.

This bank’s approval was probably encouraged by several recently won contracts by Astroscale.


Part 3: Against the COVID liars and their strong-arm edicts the wheels of justice are grinding forward slowly

Renewing the Declaration of Independence
Renewing the Declaration of Independence

In the first two parts of this series I very carefully outlined the ugly corrupt lie of the experimental COVID jab, and then followed up with a detailed summary of the lies put forth to justify imposition of the many COVID mandates.

Today, in this concluding essay, we will take a look at the battle by many to resist and end those COVID mandates, a battle that is increasingly successful because the mandates themselves were both immoral and illegal. They desecrated all the fundamental tenets and principles that underlie all American culture and law.

First however an addendum to yesterday’s essay, where I noted that “The royalties possibly received by Fauci and others in the government for their work developing the COVID jab — that the government then mandated — boggles the mind.” Shortly after I posted that essay, this story hit the web:

Fauci’s Net Worth Doubled During Pandemic, As Americans Struggled to Make Ends Meet

In 2021 alone Fauci earned almost two million dollars in royalties, travel perks, and investment gains. We still do not know however exactly what companies paid Fauci this money, or the precise amounts, because, according to the organization Open the Books which obtained this data, NIH has redacted that information.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, “Something is very rotten in the state of COVID”. The only reason I can fathom for keeping the source of those royalties secret is if their unveiling would reveal a serious conflict of interest. Fauci was one of the most visible government officials pushing the COVID shots on adults and children. Was he also making money on each jab? The public has a right to know.

Now, on to the fight against the illegal and immoral COVID mandates.
» Read more


Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

A look back at Virgin Galactic’s failed history

Link here. Doug Messier has probably provided the best news coverage of every up and down (mostly down) of Virgin Galactic since its beginning. As he notes at the beginning of his article:

A lot can happen in 18 years.

A mother can go from holding her newborn baby in her arms to sending her child off the college for the first time. In between, the child has learned to walk and talk, endured the rigors of puberty, and spent at least 13 years in school.

During that same time, Virgin Galactic essentially accomplished nothing, while wasting billions in private investment capital. Meanwhile, Richard Branson pumped and dumped, getting out when the getting was good and leaving others to hold the bag.

Definitely worth the read. The story of Virgin Galactic demonstrates the risks inherent in capitalism and freedom. Freedom allows for big dreams, but before you commit to any dream you better look it over very carefully or you might be burned.


FCC approves new regulation requiring defunct satellite deorbit in five years

Despite questions from Congress and others about the agency’s legal authority to do so, the FCC yesterday approved a new regulation that will require satellite companies to de-orbit defunct satellites within five years, shortening the rule from the previous requirement of 25 years.

Commissioners voted 4-0 to adopt the draft rule, published earlier this month, intended to address growing debris in LEO. Under the new rule, spacecraft that end their lives in orbits at altitudes of 2,000 kilometers or below will have to deorbit as soon as practicable and no more than five years after the end of their mission. The rule would apply to satellites launched two years after the order is adopted, and include both U.S.-licensed satellites as well as those licensed by other jurisdictions but seeking U.S. market access.

The article notes how this rule replaces “a longstanding FCC guideline” Note the difference. Previously the FCC had made a recommendation, recognizing it did not have the authority to impose it. Now, our power-hungry DC bureaucracy has decided it can ignore the law and impose any rule it desires. Nor does it feel it needs to listen to Congress, one committee of which sent a stern letter recently questioning the then proposed new rule and calling for the FCC to hold off any action on it while elected officials review the situation.

The FCC yesterday responded, essentially telling Congress to bug off.

None of these questions have anything to do with whether this rule makes sense. It likely does, but that still doesn’t give FCC officials to right to arbitrarily give themselves more power. Whether our elected officials will act to defend their own power is uncertain, as the pattern in the past half century is for Congress to consistently cede its power to the bureaucracy, whenever challenged.


Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

NASA releases first Juno image from the first close fly-by of Europa in decades

First released Juno image of Europa
Click for full image.

Kevin Gill's processed Juno image of Europa
Click for full image.

NASA yesterday released the first image from the successful close fly-by by Juno of Jupiter’s moon Europa since the 1990s. That photo, reduced and sharpened, is above.

The first picture NASA’s Juno spacecraft took as it flew by Jupiter’s ice-encrusted moon Europa has arrived on Earth. Revealing surface features in a region near the moon’s equator called Annwn Regio, the image was captured during the solar-powered spacecraft’s closest approach, on Thursday, Sept. 29, at 2:36 a.m. PDT (5:36 a.m. EDT), at a distance of about 219 miles (352 kilometers).

This is only the third close pass in history below 310 miles (500 kilometers) altitude and the closest look any spacecraft has provided at Europa since Jan. 3, 2000, when NASA’s Galileo came within 218 miles (351 kilometers) of the surface.

Meanwhile, the raw images have been pouring in, and citizen scientists have been quickly processing them. The photo to the right is only one example, created by Kevin Gill. I have cropped it to show one section in full resolution.

Expect many more processed images, especially those taken at closest approach, in the coming days.


SpaceX and Jared Isaacman offer private mission to NASA to raise Hubble’s orbit

Capitalism in space: In a press release issued yesterday, NASA revealed that it has signed an unfunded agreement with SpaceX and Jared Isaacman’s Polaris program (which has purchased a series of manned missions on Dragon) to study the possibility of sending one of those private manned missions to the Hubble Space Telescope to raise its orbit.

SpaceX – in partnership with the Polaris Program – proposed this study to better understand the technical challenges associated with servicing missions. This study is non-exclusive, and other companies may propose similar studies with different rockets or spacecraft as their model.

Teams expect the study to take up to six months, collecting technical data from both Hubble and the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. This data will help determine whether it would be possible to safely rendezvous, dock, and move the telescope into a more stable orbit.

In my book describing the history of the people who created Hubble, The Universe in a Mirror, I repeatedly noted how throughout its history people have tried to kill it, first in the design phase, then in the budget, then during construction, then after it was launched and the mirror was found to be ground incorrectly, and then after the Columbia accident when NASA management tried to cancel its last shuttle servicing mission.

Every attempt failed. As I have noted in that book and many times since its publication, Hubble is a telescope that will not die. NASA has for years intended to launch a mission to de-orbit it when its orbit had decayed enough that it was unstable. I’ve always said that when that time came, someone would propose and push for a mission to instead raise that orbit.

That prediction is now coming true. Though no robot arm exists yet for Dragon to use to grab Hubble in any rendezvous attempt, creating one is hardly difficult. At that point raising the telescope’s orbit becomes relatively trivial.

Whether such a mission could do more, such as replace Hubble’s ailing gyroscopes, is unknown. It would be foolish however not to review that possibility as well.


Leaving Earth cover

There are now only 4 copies left of the now out-of-print hardback of Leaving Earth. The price for an autographed copy of this rare collector's item is now $150 (plus $5 shipping).


To get your copy while the getting is good, please send a $155 check (which includes $5 shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to

Behind The Black, c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


Leaving Earth is also available as an inexpensive ebook!


Leaving Earth: Space Stations, Rival Superpowers, and the Quest for Interplanetary Travel, can be purchased as an ebook everywhere for only $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.


If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big oppressive tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Winner of the 2003 Eugene M. Emme Award of the American Astronautical Society.

"Leaving Earth is one of the best and certainly the most comprehensive summary of our drive into space that I have ever read. It will be invaluable to future scholars because it will tell them how the next chapter of human history opened." -- Arthur C. Clarke

Firefly to try again to complete first launch of its Alpha rocket

UPDATE: After a first abort about T-minus 4 minutes at around midnight, the launch team quickly recycled for a new launch at 12:52 am. At T-0 the rocket then aborted at launch.

There is still more than an hour in the launch window, so assuming they can rapidly pin down the cause of the abort, another attempt is possible, though unlikely. CONFIRMED: They will try again tomorrow, with the same launch window.

Though frustrating, these repeated launch attempts are actually wonderful real time training for Firefly’s launch team. The rocket is still in good condition, and they get to practice analyzing a situation under pressure and acting quickly to move forward.

Capitalism in space: Firefly will once again attempt to complete the first successful launch of its Alpha rocket tonight, with the launch scheduled for 12:01 am (Pacific) from Vandenberg Space Force Base. The launch window lasts two hours, so if they have an abort for a minor fixable reason there is a good chance they will still be able to cycle around and try again.

I have embedded below the live feed from Everyday Astronaut, which begins at around 10 pm (Pacific), two hours before the launch.

This will be their second attempt, with the first failing one year ago when one engine in the first stage shut down prematurely due to a loose connection. They attempted to launch this second rocket for the first time earlier this month, but had to scrub due to weather.

The rocket carries five small satellites, including one, Serenity, that was built by BtB reader (and supporter) Joe Latrell, builder of cubesats in a shop behind his garage.
» Read more


Master Du – A donkey gets a manicure

An evening pause: This guy, Master Du, specializes in trimming the hoofs of donkeys that have become deformed and need specialized work. (Make sure the closed captions are on to get some translation of the narration.) This is how it is done in China. I wonder how that compares to the techniques used in the U.S., and other nations.

Hat tip Diane Zimmerman, who found this work so interesting she ended up watching Master Du videos for more than an hour.


September 29, 2022 Quick space links

Courtesy of BtB’s stringer Jay.

The video was actually posted by ULA CEO Tory Bruno. Blue Origin then reposted it. As one commenter there said, “I bet if @torybruno hadn’t posted it, you’d never have posted it.”

The test looked good, but ULA still needs two flight engines, and only has one so far.

Jay jokes, “Free little red books if you dress like Mao.”

This might even be true, simply because China’s labor costs are so tiny compared to the U.S. Sometimes those labor costs are even free (since China does use slave labor).

I wonder if UC-San Diego will also require Sierra Space to segregated astronauts by race, as it does on its campus.

The goal is to eventually launch a 50 satellite constellation to provide 5G to its cell phone customers.


Part 2: How the liars spread the ugly corrupt lie of the COVID jab

Yesterday I outlined in detail how a growing body of research as well as a great deal of blatantly obvious public data is increasingly demonstrating that the COVID shots carry with them some risk, and that in many cases, especially for those younger than 50, the risks outweigh the relatively minor benefits the jab provides against the Wuhan flu.

Though this data was unknown when the COVID shots were first made available, the amount of uncertainty and risk was great enough to make it unconscionable for any politician or health official to require anyone to get the jab, no matter what. And yet, led by President Joe Biden, government agencies and big corporations nationwide demanded employees get the jab, or be fired.

The result: tens of thousands of individuals, especially the young and healthy, have died unnecessarily from the COVID shots, since COVID itself could never have killed them.

Today I am going to outline the lies perpetuated by politicians and government health officials almost from day one of the Wuhan panic that worked hide these basic facts. Many times these lies were committed with the best of intentions. Many times the liars honestly and sincerely believed the lie was their only course of action.

And in too many cases, the lies were merely lies, said simply to protect the individual from scandal and possible prosecution, should the truth come out.

No matter what the reason, however, these lies were not only dishonest, they were morally wrong, and resulted in routinely bad policy that only made the Wuhan epidemic far worse than it ever had to be.

To begin, let us look at the lies of some specific individuals.
» Read more


Lunar mountains and wrinkle ridges

Montes Recti on the Moon

Cool image time! The photo above, taken by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), was released today by the orbiter’s science team, and provides us an oblique look at the mountains dubbed Montes Recti (lower right) and the wrinkle ridges near them (lower left). The highest point in this mountain range is about 5,900 feet high.

The image looks west across the northern part of the mare region dubbed Mare Imbrium, the dark area on the Moon’s visible hemisphere near its top. In the distance can be the mountains that form part of mare’s rim. The rounded peak in the top right is Promontorium Laplace (about 8,530 feet high). It is named this because it projects out (a promontory) into the mare a considerable distance from the rim. The crater at top center is Laplace D. As for the wrinkle ridges, the scientists describe them like so:

Tectonic landforms are those formed by forces that act to either contract or pull apart crustal materials. These forces develop faults or breaks in the crustal materials, and movement or slip along the faults form either positive or negative relief landforms. On the Moon, positive relief contractional landforms are the most common. The most significant contractional landforms on the Moon are wrinkle ridges, found exclusively in the dark mare basalts.

Essentially, something caused the ground to contract, which caused it to break at these ridges and be forced upward.


Jupiter’s north pole cyclones appear as stable as those at the south pole

The northern polar cyclones of Jupiter
Click for original figure.

In reviewing five years of data from Juno, scientists now conclude that the polygon of large storms surrounding Jupiter’s north pole appear as stable as the same poloygon of storms found at the south pole.

Each polygon is made up of a central polar cyclone (PC) surrounded by a number of circum-polar cyclones (CPC). The image to the right, Figure 1 from the paper, compares the north polar storms from 2017 (top) to 2022 (bottom). During the five years of observations the whole polygon “rotated approximately 15° westward,” though it essentially maintained its structure.

After 5 years, the 8 + 1 North PCs structure and the 5 + 1 South one show very small changes; the lifetime of a single cyclone is therefore longer than 25 years and possibly longer than 75 years. Also, single cyclones have their peculiar morphology and this is often retained after 5 years, both in radiance and in morphology. In particular, this is the first time that we can observe the North CPCs system since the discovery in 2017, and we find that the structure is almost unperturbed.

The question that appears to remain unanswered by this data is whether these storms are deep-rooted to the interior of Jupiter or shallow structures. The stability suggests the latter, but this remains unproven.


Chang’e-5 samples suggest lunar meteorite impacts took place the same time as big Chicxulub impact

In analyzing lunar samples brought back by China’s Chang’e-5 Moon lander, Australian scientists have found evidence of lunar meteorite impacts that apparently took place the same time as big Chicxulub impact in the Yucatan 66 million years ago, thought by many scientists to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Their findings suggest that the frequency of meteorite impacts on the Moon may have been mirrored on Earth, and that major impact events on Earth were not stand-alone events and instead were accompanies by a series of smaller impacts. The study has been published in Science Advances.

“We combined a wide range of microscopic analytical techniques, numerical modelling, and geological surveys to determine how these microscopic glass beads from the Moon were formed and when,” says lead author Professor Alexander Nemchin, from the Space Science and Technology Centre (SSTC) in the School of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Curtin University in Perth.

The data suggests two possibilities, neither of which is confirmed. First, the impacts could have occurred because a cluster of large objects hit both Earth and the Moon at the same time. Second, the impacts on the Moon could have been caused by objects thrown up from the Earth when the bigger impact occurred at Chicxulub.

Either way, the data suggests a greater and more complex interaction between events on the Earth and events on the Moon.


SpaceX to upgrade 2nd Kennedy launchpad for manned launches

In order to create some increased redundancy, SpaceX and NASA have agreed to upgrade the company’s second launchpad at Cape Canaveral, LC-40, so that both it and pad LC-39A can launch manned Dragon capsules.

This plan grew out of concern by NASA that the new Starship orbital launchpad was too close to LC-39A, and could possibly damage it during a launch. Should that happen, and no back-up launchpad was available, the agency would have no way to get astronauts up to ISS, since Boeing’s Starliner is not yet operational. Because of that concern, NASA made it clear that no Starship launches could occur in Florida until this issue was resolved.

The solution? Make LC-40 a manned launchpad too.

Nothing is known about the nature of the modifications that LC-40 will require. But more likely than not, NASA will require SpaceX to develop something similar to Pad 39A’s facilities. That would involve building a new crew access tower, crew access arm, escape system (39A uses baskets and ziplines), and an on-site bunker for astronauts.

It is also likely that no Starship launches at Kennedy will occur until this work is done and a manned launch from LC-40 takes place. Though this could delay Starship somewhat, I expect not significantly. Before SpaceX is ready to launch operationally in Florida, it still has to do a lot of testing and development of Starship/Superheavy in Boca Chica, work that could take several years. I also suspect that it will get the launchpad work done relatively quickly, especially if NASA agrees to pay for it.


Initial Webb results revised because telescope wasn’t yet fully calibrated

The uncertainty of science: Though it appears that no results will have to be abandoned, the scientists who published some of the very first results from the Webb Space Telescope have been scrambling to adjust and revise their papers because the telescope is only now getting fully calibrated.

“This caused a little bit of panic,” says Nathan Adams, an astronomer at the University of Manchester, UK, who, along with his colleagues, pointed out the problem in a 9 August update to a preprint they had posted in late July3. “For those including myself who had written a paper within the first two weeks, it was a bit of — ‘Oh no, is everything that we’ve done wrong, does it all need to go in the bin?’”

To try to standardize all the measurements, the STScI is working through a detailed plan to point Webb at several types of well-understood star, and observe them with every detector in every mode for every instrument on the telescope4. “It just takes a while,” says Karl Gordon, an astronomer at the STScI who helps lead the effort.

In the meantime, astronomers have been reworking manuscripts that describe distant galaxies on the basis of Webb data. “Everyone’s gone back over and had a second look, and it’s not as bad as we thought,” Adams says. Many of the most exciting distant-galaxy candidates still seem to be at or near the distance originally estimated. But other preliminary studies, such as those that draw conclusions about the early Universe by comparing large numbers of faint galaxies, might not stand the test of time. Other fields of research, such as planetary studies, are not affected as much because they depend less on these preliminary brightness measurements.

Overall, it does not appear the more precise calibrations will change much of signficance, since most of the earliest observations were simply that, observations, not theoretical. Because the distance estimates remain largely unchanged however the theorists are left with the same conundrum: The age and apparent nature of the most distant objects does not seem to fit with what the theories had predicted Webb would see.


Hubble & Webb make first coordinated observations, tracking DART impact of Dimorphus

Webb and Hubble together look at DART impact of Dimorphus
Click for full image.

For the first time scientists have used both the Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope to observe the same astronomical event, in this case the impact of the DART spacecraft on the asteroid Dimorphus on September 26, 2022.

The two images to the right show the asteroid several hours after impact. Both telescopes also captured images before the impact as well. From the press release:

Observations from Webb and Hubble together will allow scientists to gain knowledge about the nature of the surface of Dimorphos, how much material was ejected by the collision, and how fast it was ejected. Additionally, Webb and Hubble captured the impact in different wavelengths of light – Webb in infrared and Hubble in visible. Observing the impact across a wide array of wavelengths will reveal the distribution of particle sizes in the expanding dust cloud, helping to determine whether it threw off lots of big chunks or mostly fine dust. Combining this information, along with ground-based telescope observations, will help scientists to understand how effectively a kinetic impact can modify an asteroid’s orbit.

When Webb was first conceived in the late 1990s, it was exactly for this reason, to combine Hubble’s optical vision with Webb’s infrared view. Though more than a decade late, it has finally happened.

It will be months before scientists begin to decipher the data produced by all the telescopes and spacecraft used to observe the DART impact. What we are seeing now are merely hints at what has been learned.


Astra’s last rocket failure pinpointed to upper stage engine

Astra has determined that the launch failure in June 2022 was because the upper stage engine of its Rocket 3.3 rocket was burning fuel faster than it was supposed to.

“We’ve determined that the upper stage shut down early due to a higher-than-normal fuel consumption rate,” the update reads. “We have narrowed the root cause to an issue with the upper stage engine. We have also completed many rounds of ground testing, including multiple tests that yielded results consistent with the failure condition in flight.”

When the failure happened, the company had quickly determined that the upper stage had shut down prematurely. The investigation has now determined that it had simply run out of fuel, because of that higher-than-intended burn rate.

While they say they will next institute corrective measures, that seems unlikely for this engine. In August Astra announced it would no longer launch Rocket 3.3, and was instead shifting to the development of a newer bigger rocket, Rocket-4. It now appears that decision was made based on the results of this investigation. The engine probably has fundamental issues that could not be resolved easily.

This decision to cease use of Rocket 3.3 essentially removed Astra as an operational rocket company. Whether the company can re-enter the launch market with a new rocket however remains very unclear.


Ingenuity completed 33rd flight this past weekend

This notice is a bit late, but then, there really isn’t much to report. According to the Ingenuity flight log, engineers successfully completed the helicopter’s 33rd flight on September 24, 2022, flying about 364 feet for 55 seconds.

The plan had been to fly 365 feet for 55.6 seconds, so that matched their plan almost exactly. According to the interactive map that tracks the movement of both the rover Perseverance and the helicopter, this flight continued the helicopter’s movement almost due west, bringing it closer to the rover so as to facilitate communications.

The primary goal of Ingenuity’s engineering team at this time is to refine the accuracy of their software in order to better understand how to fly robots on Mars. This will help prepare the next helicopters for future missions.


September 28, 2022 Quick space links

Courtesy of Jay, BtB’s stringer.

My heart be still. As the tweet notes, it was a month since the last evidence of test. Blue Origin continues to move at glacial speed, especially considering this engine is three years late.

Jay notes the company plans to use nine of these on their reusable rocket. Sound familiar?

The letter is in response to the FCC’s announcement in early August that it was going to consider imposing regulations on expanding its involvement and regulation of “space missions like satellite refueling, inspecting and repairing in-orbit spacecraft, capturing and removing debris, and transforming materials through manufacturing while in space.”

As I noted then, “none of these goals has anything to do with the electromagnetic spectrum, the regulation of which is the sole and only real responsibility of the Federal Communications Commission.”

It seems Congress wants the FCC to know this as well.


Part 1: The ugly corrupt lie of the experimental COVID jab

Joe Biden: dictator
Joe Biden: claiming the power to tell us what medicines we must take

On September 9, 2021, President Joe Biden announced harsh mandates nationwide that forced millions to get COVID shots. You had no choice. If you refused, you would be fired from your job and made a non-person, forbidden in all ways from participating normally in society.

“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” Biden said, making a direct appeal to the 80 million people who he said were still unvaccinated. “Your refusal has cost all of us.”

…”It’s simple [said an official]: If you want to work for the federal government, you must be vaccinated. If you want to do business with the government, you must vaccinate your workforce.”

Those mandates — unreasonably based on very uncertain knowledge at the time — have now been found to have killed thousands of people who did not need to die.

And worst of all, the people imposing those mandates were lying, and knew they were lying.

Killing young adults

For a large majority of the population that either voluntarily chose to get the COVID jab or were forced to submit under duress, the shots and boosters at this point appear to have been harmless. Most people have exhibited no negative symptoms once jabbed, and have so far been able to go on with their lives as if nothing had changed.

The problem is that for many, that jab was a death sentence, with the executioner often arriving unexpectedly but quickly, and completely unnecessarily.
» Read more


Is China-Russia partnership to build lunar base dead?

China/Russian Lunar base roadmap
The so-called Chinese-Russian partnership to explore
the Moon.

In 2021 China and Russia announced a long term plan to jointly explore the Moon, with the project eventually leading to the construction of a joint lunar base.

The graphic to the right comes from that announcement. It lists all lunar missions being built by both Russia and China, and outlined the step-by-step process in which both will work together to build that base.

At the time I noted the likelihood of serious Russian delays, since confirmed. I then noted this:

This decision [by Russia to delay] also demonstrates that Russia’s so-called partnership with China to explore the Moon …is pure hogwash.

Russia’s track record in space since the fall of the Soviet Union has been poor. It hasn’t been able to complete almost any project on time, with many dying stillborn. Most of the time Russian authorities make big announcements of big plans, but nothing ever gets built.

It appears now that China has recognized this reality. In presentations at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Paris last week, China repeatedly offered payload space on its many planetary missions — as listed to the right — to outside nations and even private concerns.

Based on China’s recent track record, those missions will fly, and will likely fly close to their predicted launch dates. Since its space program is designed by China to promote itself, it hopes to get others to participate for propaganda reasons. It also hopes it can then steal some technology from that partnership, as also shown by its long term track record.

What China’s presentations at IAC did not do, however, was mention Russia.

The only visible representation of potential Russian [participation] came in a slide listing future Chinese Chang’e and Russia Luna missions, alongside graphics of the Chinese Long March 9 super heavy-lift rocket and a large Russian launch vehicle. The slide was taken straight from ILRS handbook released to coincide with the St. Petersburg event in 2021, and Russia nor its missions were not explicitly named.

It is hard to say if the lack of representation of Russian involvement reflects a change in Beijing’s thinking or a sensitivity to the current geopolitical context. But China appears to face a dilemma for its grandest space ambitions so far.

It appears China has recognized the paper tiger nature of its partnership with Russia. It hasn’t precluded the partnership, but it realizes that its program to explore the Moon and the solar system must move forward independent of Russia, or else Russia will act like a lead weight to slow it down.


Celestron to modify commercial amateur telescope for space use

Capitalism in space: Amateur telescope manufacturer Celestron has signed a deal to adapt one of its more expensive ground-based telescopes for use in space.

Trans Astronautica Corp. announced an agreement Sept. 27 with telescope manufacturer Celestron to develop a space-qualified version of the company’s Rowe-Ackermann Schmidt Astrograph (RASA) ground-based telescope. “We’ve been using Celestron’s RASA telescopes in our space domain awareness and asteroid prospecting systems, and we found them to be very affordable, high-quality optical systems,” Joel Sercel, TransAstra founder and CEO, told SpaceNews. “We looked at the designs and we realized it would not be that hard to adapt them for space use.”

Over the next year, TransAstra plans to modify the RASA telescope design and substitute materials to produce a telescope that can withstand radiation exposure, temperature swings, and the vibration and shock loads of space launch.

TransAstra provides tracking data on space junk to both the commercial and defense industry. It also has a new deal to use its telescopes to provide schools use of these telescopes for educational purposes. The goal is to put this capability into orbit.

The future ramifications however are profound. Once Celestron has a commercial relatively inexpensive telescope capable of operating in space (or on the Moon), it will not take long before customers begin lining up eager to buy and launch it. Think about it: though there will be engineering issues to overcome, the cost of placing one of these telescopes on one of the new commercial lunar landers for operation on the Moon will not be far beyond the budgets of many amateur astronomers, some of whom spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their own ground-based observatories.


September 27, 2022 Quick space links

Courtesy of BtB’s stringer Jay, who trolls Twitter so I don’t have to.

I will believe it when it actually happens.

Just a cool image.

More specifically, the “Crimean Federal District which will include Crimea and the occupied territories of Donbass, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions.” If so, Rogozin’s head is essentially being put on the block. Ukrainian partisan forces have been very successful at killing such leaders.

I guess this is a reward by Putin for Rogozin’s skill at losing Russia billions in commercial satellite sales.


More glaciers in Mars’ glacier country

Overview map

glacial layering in Clasia Vallis
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on June 18, 2022 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It shows what appear to be layered glacial features on the floor of what at first glance appears to be a crater.

It is not a crater however. The depression in the lower right of this image is the rim and floor of a 77-mile-long meandering canyon on Mars dubbed Clasia Vallis. The red cross in the overview map above marks its location, at 34 degrees north latitude. This channel drains downward from the southern cratered highlands into the 2,000-mile-long mid-latitude strip of mensae terrain that I dub glacier country because almost every hi-res image from this region shows glacial features.

Below is a wider view of Clasia Vallis, taken by the context camera on MRO on March 19, 2014.
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Today’s blacklisted American: Arrested in 2020 for letting her kids play in park, a mom is still being prosecuted by Idaho Republicans

Sarah Brady: targeted by both establishment parties for defending her freedom
Sarah Brady: targeted by both establishment parties
for defending her freedom

Persecution is now cool! In 2020, during the worst of the Wuhan panic, Sarah Brady was part of a gathering of parents and children in a public playground in Meridian, Idaho, a playground that the local mayor, Lauren McLean (Democrat), had closed in her panicked fear of COVID. Her irrational ban said that no outdoor equipment or playground equipment could be touched, though people could still gather in the parks.

When police officers demanded Brady and the others leave the park, Brady challenged them, questioning the absurdity of the closure. She was then arrested, and charged with misdemeanor that could result in six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

“I feel like I was singled out because I was the only person that was arrested,” Brady said. “I wasn’t the only person standing on the bark [the playground surface]. I definitely wasn’t playing on the playground equipment. I wasn’t swinging, never touched them. But yeah, I do feel like I was singled out and maybe it was because I asked too many questions.”

Two years later, this absurd persecution of Brady continues. The Republican state attorney general, Lawrence Wasden, has refused to drop the charges, and is instead pursuing them.
» Read more


First ground-based telescope view of DART impact on Dimorphus

LICIACube Explorer image of DART impact

We now have the first ground-based images of the DART impact on the 525-foot-wide asteroid Dimorphus yesterday, captured by the Hawaiian telescope ATLAS.

You need to watch the video of the full sequence of images, available here, to get a true sense of the impact. The cloud of material quickly expands to about twice the asteroid’s size, then dissipates away, with the remaining asteroid now appearing larger (?). That larger size could be caused by a remaining cloud of material that still needs to settle back to the surface.

More images have been released by a Chinese telescope. Also, the first images from the Italian cubesat LICIACube Explorer, flying in parallel with DART, have been released. I have posted one to the right. The large blob near the center is the parent half-mile-wide asteroid, Didymos. Dimorphus is buried in the debris cloud above and slightly to the right.

Hat tip stringer Jay for the links to these images.


Radar data from Zhurong finds no ice to a depth of 260 feet

Zhurong's ground-penetrating radar data

Overview map

Chinese scientists today finally published their results from the ground-penetrating radar instrument on their Mars rover Zhurong, revealing that to a depth of 260 feet (80 meters), it detected no clear signal of water ice.

Figure 2 of their paper, posted above, summarizes their results. It shows the radar profile to 328 feet (100 meters) depth along Zhurong’s route, as shown in the map to the right, with the last bit of its recent travels ending somewhere in the blue circle. From the paper:

Our low-frequency radar imaging profile shows radar signals within the depth range of 0–80 m (Fig. 2a), precluding the existence of a water-rich layer within this depth range as the existence of water would strongly attenuate the radar signals and diminish the visibility of deeper reflections. The estimated low (less than 9) dielectric permittivity (Fig. 2c) further supports the absence of a water-rich layer as water-bearing materials typically have high (greater than 15) dielectric permittivity.

We further tested this assessment with thermal considerations by conducting a heat conduction simulation based on available thermal parameters estimated from previous studies (Methods). Our thermal simulation results … show that the Zhurong landing area has an annual average temperature of around 220K in the RoPeR detection depth range, which is much lower than the freezing point of pure water (273K), and also lower than the eutectic temperatures of typical sulfate and carbonate brines, but slightly above those of perchlorate brine systems. This observation suggests that the shallow subsurface of the Zhurong landing area could not stably contain liquid water nor sulfate or carbonate brines, consistent with the radar imaging result.

The data suggests that below the surface topsoil layer, the regolith, there are two distinct layers of material that the scientists interpret as possible evidence of past catastrophic floods. That conclusion however is very very uncertain. The main take-away is that in the northern lowland plains of Utopia Planitia at 25 degrees north latitude, where Zhurong landed, Mars is definitely a dry desert, with no water close to the surface.

This data also suggests that if you establish a colony anywhere in Mars’ dry equatorial regions within 30 degrees latitude of the equator, you will likely have to travel north or south a considerable distance to get to easily accessible ice. The global map of Mars below shows the regions where ice is most evident, north and south of 30 degrees latitude.
» Read more


Two Chinese launches: Long March 2D and Long March 6 put satellites into orbit

China successfully completed two launches in the past twelve hours, placing four satellites into orbit in total.

First, in the evening of September 26th, a Long March 2D rocket launched a “remote sensing” satellite into orbit. This was then followed in the morning of September 27th with the launch of a Long March 6 rocket, putting three “experimental” Earth observation satellites into orbit. We know nothing more about any of these satellites.

The article at the link lists a third launch, of a Kuaizhou-1A rocket, but I have already reported that.

The leaders in the 2022 launch race:

43 SpaceX
41 China
12 Russia
7 Rocket Lab

American private enterprise still leads China 60 to 41 in the national rankings. Against the entire world combined, the U.S. now trails 60 to 61.

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